April 1, 2014
A is for…
apathy. You hear a lot of talk about apathy in public education. The kids have it, don’t want to do their work, aren’t motivated to learn, don’t care about the consequences. The administrators are accused of it, as are colleagues, parents, legislators—ignorance and apathy.
Many teachers who are honest with themselves admit that they feel it, too, in their deepest heart chambers. For instance, I find it harder and harder to grade every year, even this year with a reduced teaching load. And while I don’t believe it actually is a result of apathy, per se, it certainly looks the same on the surface, derives the same results, and because of this, I am often tempted to dub it apathy and then use it as a familiar stick against myself.
Into the space of apathy, however, I seek to inject an antidote—activity, perhaps. When I feel sluggish and unmotivated, perhaps the thing to do is something, to get up and move, to take a short walk, to do a small series of squats and downward dog. Or perhaps appreciation—the intentional and specific practice of gratitude is demonstrated, both medically and anecdotally, to treat apathy and depression. My yoga instructor recently recommended a gratitude journaling practice, but with more parameters than I was accustomed to observing. Each journal entry should address three things…and none of them can be repeated.
It’s helping. I need to remember to extend that appreciation to myself, as well. I haven’t made my own gratitude list yet. Baby steps.